The Guardian newspaper has reported that a ‘meat tax’ is ‘inevitable’ due to the product’s impact on both human health and the environment.
The outlet quotes a report by the Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return [Fairr] Initiative investor network, which argues that meat should be considered in the same vein as tobacco, carbon emissions and sugar towards, all of which are facing levies due to their negative impacts. These levies are known as ‘sin taxes’.
FAIRR lists greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, and antibiotic resistance as just three of the issues cause by the livestock industry.
FAIRR Founder, Jeremy Coller, said: “If policymakers are to cover the true cost of human epidemics like obesity, diabetes and cancer, and livestock epidemics like avian flu, while also tackling the twin challenges of climate change and antibiotic resistance, then a shift from subsidisation to taxation of the meat industry looks inevitable.
“Far-sighted investors should plan ahead for this day.”
Maria Lettini, Director of Fairr, added: “As implementation of the Paris climate agreement progresses we’re highly likely to see government action to reduce the environmental impact of the global livestock sector.
“On the current pathway we may well see some form of meat tax emerge within five to 10 years.
“There are huge opportunities in the market. If we can start replacing meat protein with plant-based protein that has the same look, taste and feel as meat, where real red-blooded meat eaters are happy to dig into a burger that is plant-based, we are changing the world.”
The newspapers says that although ‘meat taxes are often seen as politically impossible’ but 2015 research by Chatham House ‘found they are far less unpalatable to consumers than governments think’.
It quotes Rob Bailey at Chatham House who said: “It’s only a matter of time before agriculture becomes the focus of serious climate policy.
“The public health case will likely strengthen government resolve, as we have seen with coal and diesel.
“It’s hard to imagine concerted action to tax meat today, but over the course of the next 10 to 20 years, I would expect to see meat taxes accumulate.”
According to the Guardian: “Meat taxes have already been discussed in parliaments in Germany, Denmark and Sweden.”